measurement by fiat
measurement by fiatmeasurement’ (e.g. indirect indicators of a phenomenon) where ‘we have only a prescientific or common-sense concept that on a priori grounds seems to be important but which we do not know how to measure directly’ and, with some degree of arbitrariness, we impose a measure (W. Torgerson, Theory and Method of Scaling, 1958). CICOUREL (1964) has criticized such imposing of ‘equivalence classes’ without theoretical or empirical justification – a viewpoint influential in the establishment of ETHNOMETHODOLOGY.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000